Wireworm or Click Beetle


Family: - Elateridae

Order: - Coleoptera



Colour - Dark brown to black.

Body - Elongated. Slightly flattened. 20mm long, 5mm wide.

Wings - 2 Pairs. Front wings modified to form hard protective cases (elytra) for rear wings. When at rest they meet in a straight line down the centre of the back. Rear wings membranous and folded both lengthwise and across so they fit under their protective cases. When in flight the elytra are held at an angle and the rear wings beat rapidly. Rear wings may be reduced or absent in some species. Wing-span up to 30mm. Both pairs attached to the hind body.

Mouthparts - Chewing. Pointing forward.

Antennae - 11 segments. Thread like.

Legs - Rear legs larger than front legs. Feet (Tarsi) simple.

Head - Rigid. Large rounded compound eyes.

Thorax - Front segment associated with head to form distinct fore body. Front segment covered by a hard plate (pronotum). 2 rear segments fused and associated with the abdomen to form hind body.

Abdomen - 10 segments in male, 9 in female. Often only 8 can be counted by eye. Spiracles on segments 1-7 and often on 8 also.

Egg - Usually simple and ovoid.

Habits - Can't fly when cold. Has clicking mechanism which allows it to jump into the air and click when it is on its back. When disturbed it falls onto the ground usually on it back ready to click and jump into the air.

Larva -

Colour - Yellow to brown with darker head.

Body - Has legs, Long and thin, cylindrical. 20mm long, 2mm wide.

Mouthparts - Chewing. Transverse action.

Antennae - 1 segment.

Legs - 6 legs. 5 segments.

Head - Usually a hard capsule. No ridges on forehead.

Thorax - No functional spiracle on middle segment.

Abdomen - 8-11 segments. No prolegs. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8.

Habits - Feeds underground on roots.

Pupa -


Life Cycle:

Eggs usually laid near food source for larva. Larva hatch and feed underground on roots.


Origin and History:



Pests of cereals, grasses and root crops. Feed on roots making crop unmarketable or killing seedlings.

Management and Control:

Cultivation before planting. Insecticides.

A bait may be useful in some situations. The bait is made from 40 mL chlorpyrifos (500g/L) plus 50 mL sunflower oil per 1 kg of cracked Wheat (or Sorghum). Apply 2.5 kg/ha of the bait.

Related Species:

Similar Species:


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p637-638.

Child, J.C. Australian Insects. Periwinkle Books. p93 photo.

Goode, J. Insects of Australia. Angus and Robertson. p102-103 photo.


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